Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours…

Having German neighbours is great. Everyone says hello, people hold the door open for you, and they even buzz you into the building at 3am when you can’t find your key.

However, before you decide you want to move in with me, there are a few things that you should probably be aware of.

1. Germans love online shopping.

I mean they REALLY love it. Which is all well and good, unless you live in the ground floor apartment and the DHL guy always rings your buzzer first. I have worn a path in the carpet trotting from my desk to open the door and sign for people’s packages. Half the time, our hall looks like the back room of a post office with all of the packages we take in.

The tip of the iceberg
The tip of the iceberg

There’s still no rest when delivery time is over for the day, because then you’re up and down to open the door to people looking for their stuff.

2. Naked neighbours

While I don’t think I’ve taken in any packages for the couple next door, I’ve seen the boyfriend’s package more times than I care to admit. Not that I’ve been going out of my way to see it, of course.

They have no curtains on their living room window and sometimes things get a bit sexy in there. They also both like walking around naked or standing at the sink naked, something that nearly gave my Bavarian flatmate a heart attack.

And, at the risk of going a little off topic, I think they might have murdered their cat. They had the cutest little kitten that used to leap out at you from all sorts of hiding places, but seemingly also liked peeing and pooping in the bed. Then one day it was gone.

Me: Hey, I haven’t seen your cat around for a few days. 

Traute: He ran away.

Me: Aw, well, maybe he’ll come back.

Traute: No, he’s not coming back.

Me: Right…

Then the next day, they put all the cat’s stuff in the bins. I could be wrong of course, but it does give you paws for thought… (Sorry.)

3. A hit on the house

One day, I came home to find two Xs spray painted onto the front door.

Like this
Like this

I didn’t give it much thought until one of my neighbours put up a sign on the inside of the door a day later.

Like this
Like this

It turns out that the two Xs are Berlin Criminal Underworld-ese for “There’s good stuff in this building. Rob it.” Thankfully, one of my neighbours understands BCU-ese and responded with the sign that means “The police have been made aware of this situation. Don’t even think about it. Punk.”

After an attempted break-in last week, Hildeberta, my flatmate, suggested that maybe I could sit inside the door and bark for a while in the evenings. She did not get a “hoch fünf” for that.

4. Chatty Kathy

I guess every building has one of these. You know, the type that’s into everyone’s business and is almost impossible to escape when you bump into them in the hall? Mine also happens to look a bit like Kathy Bates in “Misery”.

misery_1

 

In our first conversation, she explained how she couldn’t understand why everyone thinks Berlin is cool and Berliners are friendly, as supposedly, Berliners are the least friendly people on the planet. She then told me she is a Berliner and proceeded to talk the ear off me for a good twenty minutes.

As she lives on the fifth floor, she’s worried that nobody will hear her scream (unlikely) if someone breaks into her apartment. She’s also worried that, as you can’t text the police in Berlin, the intruder will be able to hear her on the phone. So now she has my phone number.

The idea is that she’ll text me in the event of a break-in, and then I’ll call the police. Why she took the number of the one person in the building who can’t speak German is a mystery.

Heinz: Hallo, Polizei.

Me: HILFE! HILFE! EIN MANN IST… UM… UM… JUST HILFE! 

You see the flaw in the plan.

Crap, my phone is ringing – private number. I guess it’s time to let a neighbour get murdered. Sigh. I hate when this happens.

 

(Kathy Bates image taken from here.)

Advertisements

169 thoughts on “Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours…”

  1. So great to read this! I’m slowly getting caught up. Very funny stuff! Although, I’m a bit concerned about you. Where the hell are you living? It sounds a little creepy. And why did you give Kathy Bates, psycho, your number? Are the hops getting to you? Albeit, she’ll probably make great blogging material.

    As For the naked neighbors, I guess that can be fun, if they look fairly decent naked. But you left us in suspense on that one.

    I do think there’s something really funny about the X’s on the door. I certainly don’t want you ti come to any harm. But the tic tac toe language between thief and potential victim is a riot! It also seems so German, to be so organized in your approach. I bet Germans would make excellent wedding planners. Ya think? I’m nodding off. Night! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, I guess it is kind of funny even though we were a bit freaked out for a while! Feeling much calmer now though 🙂
      The naked neighbours are a pretty attractive young couple so it could definitely be worse 🙂
      And Kathy – I don’t know. Brain fart? I couldn’t think of an excuse not to give it to her quickly enough and she seemed genuinely scared. Now I think she’s just paranoid.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Glad you’re feeling calmer. It is cool that there is a corresponding symbol thar indicates the police have been alerted. Or did speak to the stupidity of thieves, that they would warn you in advance that you are a target. As I heard a Chicago cop say once in a lecture, “thieves are typically stupid people. They can’t find or hold jobs, which is often why they’re thieves.”

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Naked neighbours…oh dear. If they were male, young and hot, then it would possibly be ok but my neighbours are all extremely elderly and I do NOT want to catch a glimpse of some old codger’s dangly parts, thank you very much.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. So funny but I’m with you with the naked neighbours as we don’t have curtains either! We do have blinds though mainly ‘cos we have a pre-teenage son who needs his privacy and also because we want to keep him a “child” as long as possible. My eyes have been burnt. BURNT! By the lovely naked guys and girls doing their business right over our garden, in the next building opposite our kitchen, and just a fortnight ago, sounds of pain, agony, and ecstasy came drifting through the bathroom window, while it snowed!
    I didn’t know where to look and had to block my ears as I was doing my personal buisness at the time LOL!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I hope you took the number to chatty kathy too as I imagine the criminal underworld is very happy of you making the rest of the world aware of their x’s. After all, now we all know, you live in the first floor and that there isn’t even the cat around to help you 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, the naked neighbors. Yes, indeedy. There is one exhibitionist in the building next door who likes to lift weights while in the buff. It gives a whole new meaning to the term “bench press.”

    We don’t have a chatty Kathy in my building, but we do have a “weather Wendy” — a woman who feels the need to complain at length about the current weather. She has cornered me for five minutes rambling on about the heat / rain / snow / cold.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. i have been very tempted to apply for the show! every time we watch the show i tease my uber-pedantic and hard-working german partner that i will apply. but he says that the first thing he would immediatelly kick ass of any lazy, unemployed and dirty “Tauschmutti” that would be sent over. 😀 frankly – i really doubt that anybody in their right mind would apply for that show. i would not be surprised that they get offered the opportunity in the unemployment agency or something as the (very) last resort. 😀

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I was thinking I might apply for it when my German gets a bit better 😉 I might learn something 🙂
              Can you imagine anyone in their right minds giving Jasmine a job after that episode? Maybe she’ll be offered her own reality TV show though!

              Like

  6. Living in an apartment building can be so entertaining 😉 I’m bummed about the kitten, of course. Hopefully they just gave her away to someone, although why wouldn’t they have also given away the kitty stuff? Sniff. Anyway, maybe the real problem was kitty thought boyfriend’s “package” was a toy and pounced on it one too many times 😉 Kitties have sharp little claws …

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m delighted I came across your site and was wondering if you or any of your readers can give me some advice about recruitment in Germany. I’m working for a company that is looking to expand into Berlin and was wondering if anyone had any advice on the best places to advertise locally. We are looking for English speaking businessmanagers so any advice would be greatly appreciated. We’ve advertised on Linkedin and Monster.com but haven’t had much luck attracting the right applicants.

    Like

    1. Hi, I’m not sure I can be of much help but I’ll publish your comment and maybe someone else will have some answers for you! You could try Toytown – they advertise positions for English speakers, or Craigslist.de. Linda.

      Like

  8. Wow, Kathy does not sound like a fun neighbour. We also have a Kathy in our building, but she is a little different in that she has taken on the role of ‘house mother’ for everyone. It’s a nightmare having her knock on the door every Sunday morning if you haven’t swept the stairs by 11am. Not to mention she feels the need to tell everyone when she is working a night shift – like that is going to stop us living our lives, especially when she smokes in the communal hallway. Maybe a Kathy is just a given in apartment blocks in Germany? 😉

    I had no idea about the two X’s graffiti and all of that, how crazy! It’s such a fortunate thing that your housemate understood what was going on there and (hopefully) put a stop to any future trouble!

    Like

    1. Tell me about it! We’d have been sitting ducks!
      Ha, maybe Kathy is a given! I sort of thought maybe she was the house manager or something. Then I realised she was just a busybody. 😉
      Anyone who knocked on my door at 11am on a Sunday would be hit with the sweeping brush before I did any other sweeping 😉

      Like

  9. At last we see the dark side of Berlin: criminal gang signals, neighbors who can’t shut up, doors clogged with other people’s shopping (to say nothing of their packages) and naked cat-killers! I am an animal lover so I think the cat-killers are the worst. But the garrulous neighbor would really drive me nuts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Never a dull moment 🙂
      And I’m not making up number 3! One of the neighbours put up a sign with an explanation on the back door – there’s so much graffiti in Berlin, I didn’t give it a second thought but it’s worth knowing that kind of stuff!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I know! Then we had a police notification in the hall to say that there had been an attempted break-in so to be extra vigilant. Problem is people are coming and going all the time so it’s hard to know if they should be in the building or not! I recognise most people now though – I’m like the guard dog 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Maybe the cat got sick of them walking around naked – the poor little fellow must have been traumatized looking at that all day! 🙂 And maybe you can suggest some online shopping for curtains to them – you know, as it is what the cool kids do in Berlin. 🙂 And they want to be cool in every sense of the word. Oh, by the way, how old are your neighbors?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Just 🙂 He’s stiff competition though! Let’s see just how weird Kathy Bates gets! I’m not tramping up and down stairs every night looking for imaginary robbers! And I think maybe she’s sewn into her coat and furry hat – I’ve never seen her out of them… the total opposite to the naked neighbours! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. ah, here’s your ‘everything must be in balance’ thing then. I wonder if this balance will be anyhow changed when spring comes, say, the naked couple could get all layered up, and Kathy Bates… Well, on the other hand I think you already have the better deal here 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  11. the naked neighbors – – – gosh – – here they just all run around in their underwear and only in summer and even that gives me a little blush..I can’t imagine what I would do if I saw my neighbors naked. Again…maybe it is a berlin thing??? Remember I told you about the naked park!?!?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. hahahaha!! Oh my gawd! Our postie has access to our building and NEVER leaves anything inside. I always have to trot to the post office to pick it all up. Much annoyance!

    However the naked neighbours sound like they would be fun to watch. Poor kitten though…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe he was under the bed when they started banging on it and they squished him 😉
      Yeah, I guess this is a better system than having to go to the post office all the time! Except when they leave your package with a neighbour on the fifth floor!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh the neighbour doesn’t bring it down?

        I once stole someone’s sample pack of American cereal because I’d missed it… And they’d not know what they were missing…

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Linda – you are hilarious!! Man, you don’t want to know about our neighbours… don’t get us started….
    Maybe the kitten ran away and left a note for them to not bother waiting around for it?!
    Being on Level 5 – wonder if Kathy is more or less at risk of seeing an intruder. Would they bother going up all that way?? There are so many other floors in between…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s what I would have thought! But I guess there’s less foot traffic up that far so maybe they have a better chance of getting away with it – who knows! She’s had her lights and radio on constantly for weeks now 🙂
      I kind of do want to know about your neighbours now! 🙂

      Like

  14. Cripes, can you charge a pick up fee for all those boxes? Amazon is a wonderful thing, but that seems a bit extreme!
    And bahahaha to the naked neighbor show. Not all Bavarians live in long underwear though. Our landlord cut down the hedge between us and the neighbors two months ago, and I’m still trying to convince BV that it’s a good idea to wear pj pants around the house, lest he scar their children for life.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d avoid coming down here in summer then… most people seem to have few qualms about stripping down the second it gets hot, or if there is water anywhere nearby. And I saw a few nude parts this weekend while people were changing in/out of ski gear at their cars, so may want to avoid coming in winter as well. Or just wear dark sunglasses so they can’t see you staring. 🙂
        Don’t forget the surcharge if they interrupt you at wine o’clock!

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Sounds like you need to get one of those glasses that goes on a string around your neck. That way you won’t have to put it down when playing postmaster.
            Without a doubt. My formerly repressed American self is mostly used to it now, but some things cannot be unseen. *shudders*

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Ha ha! In LV, they used to go to the sauna (naked), then jump into snow/a frozen lake and then beat each other with birch branches. Thankfully I never saw it in person 🙂

              Like

                1. I suspect some people get rather naughty with this part, but if applied as intended, this is quite benign and isn’t any more irritating or unpleasant than a hard brush – and it does exfoliate!

                  Liked by 2 people

              1. Ha, and I didn’t just see it: I also participated a few times – sans the snow bit (I’ve never done this in winter), although I suspect it isn’t so bad, like alternating hot and cold shower 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha! I wonder if the Nudies next door would agree to be in it… I could try to trick them into confessing their crimes against cats on air 😉
      I have a feeling Kathy might become a problem. Wish I could have thought of a reason NOT to give her my number fast enough!

      Like

  15. @2: oh, it’s the fabled Freikörperkultur. That’s definitely a thing Germany should export in long freight trains and supertankers everywhere. 🙂 Except here, because Father Christmas doesn’t approve, and he’ll freeze your bits off if you’re stubborn.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No, especially now (it’s -12° here), and not with the heating prices. 🙂

        Though personally (sorry if it’s TMI) I’m bucking the system and getting in touch with the Antiquity by exercising au naturel. ‘Gymnastics’ comes from the word that literally means ‘to train naked’ – ‘gymnos’ is ‘naked’ in Ancient Greek (think about this next time you go to a gymnasium 😉 ). It warms my heart to know that Germans would approve. 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

      2. go to the german sauna and take a look at some 70 y.o. mens penises which they dont even hide….. the most embarassing moment for me was when I went to a sauna in Nuernberg two years ago and met two of our professors there from my college, all butt naked. they didnt seem embarassed a bit. no seriously you should do it=)) you never went mushroom collecting in Latvia (at least you wore the leopard print once!) but you have to do at least one local thing in germany….

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I really don’t enjoy saunas, but I guess some naked Germans could make it worthwhile 😉 Just hope I don’t bump into any of my students – I’d never step into a classroom again!

          Like

          1. well those guys I bumped into were not my teacher but my collegues (I am a uni teacher myself) but I am the younger one so they were like older role models to me or smth… in comparison with the British system there was a certain distance between me and them not like in UK where I felt on equal terms with everyone… here you have to politely address everyone as “Sie” and then you see them naked in the sauna…. and they greet you and continue the conversation with you about school and stuff in the same patronizing manner like its nobodys business…. its funny how different our cultures are! in Germany it would be a huge faux pax for a student or a younger teacher to address his professor with “Du” and treat him as a friend.but seeing him naked is no big deal. In Uk its quite the opposite….

            P.S: Germans are kinky. just so you know 😉

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Ha, yeah, I find it funny that in supermarkets, etc., people have Herr… or Frau… on their name tags instead of their first names! And my students would all call their bosses Mr So and so. It’s not nearly that formal in Ireland either!
              And I don’t mind a bit of kink 😉

              Like

    1. Hi Marc-André! Thanks for following! I’ll be over to check out your blog 🙂 How do you find life in the UK compared to Germany? Do they murder cats there too? 😉 Any nudie neighbours??
      Linda.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Luckily no nudie neighbours! Though we live in a block of flats so you don’t get to see living rooms LOL. I do find that you hardly get to speak to people here versus Germany. If someone in London says hello people seem to get the whole “omg its a stalker!!!! Quick ignore and walk away!” It does sometimes feel like someone could get killed in the middle of a station and people would look the other way just to not get involved. Though that seems to be limited to London LOL. Once you get into the countryside people are just as open and friendly as back in Germany (at least from my experience).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I almost got murdered on a train in Lyon before – nobody batted an eyelid!
          I hardly ever saw anyone in my flat in Dublin either – I like how friendly it is here though! And I guess it’s not just a Berlin thing either!

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha yes its all about cats 😀 and yes i may have to hunt down your neighbours and find out what they did!!! Unforunately we had a neighbour who made an adorable cat dissapear as well because she annoyed his children… I do hope she was rehomed rather than disposed off 😦

        Liked by 2 people

  16. The DHL people annoy me so much. They’ll ring our buzzer but by the time I’ve run to answer it they’ve either given my package to a neighbour or shoved a note on my mailbox saying they had to take my package back to the post office because nobody was in. Yes, somebody WAS in… you’re just to lazy to walk up the stairs!

    Most of my neighbours are students, so they’re still in bed when I leave for work and out somewhere when I come home. Also, there are only 8 flats in the building and 4 of them only have one occupant. Not all that many neighbours to bump into, really. We’re friends with the guy immediately below us though.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The DHL guy even says hello to me if I happen to see him somewhere else now – that’s how often he’s here!

      I just know most people just to say hello to but am friendly enough with the nudies and one other couple in the building. I just hope this girl upstairs doesn’t go ‘Single White Female’ on my ass… 😉

      Like

    2. Yes, those delivery guys are very quick, and sometimes they even don’t bother to ring! they just consider by default that nobody’s at home during the day anyway, write on the note that they have been at xx:xx there and just leave a note. But I have developed a whole pick-up system: on the day when the delivery is supposed to arrive I get ready early in the morning, get my sneakers on and am ready to RUN-FOR-LIFE down the stairs to catch my delivery 😀

      talking about nudity. it’s very normal and accepted in Germany. once i went for the first date with a guy to his shared-appartment (yes, i’m a crazy Latvian, and used to go on dates with random internet guys straight to their appartments) and he opened the door completely naked. luckily he was extremely handsome and good built ;D

      Liked by 1 person

      1. just curious … are you a girl or a boy? Ive been asked to hook up on first dates but I never had to find the guy naked on our first date…. so I was wondering if this sort of behaviour is normal for gays only because I havent faced anything quite like that yet amongst straight men

        P.S. I had already mentioned to Linda that due to the weirdness of German men I kinda gave up on dating them. their awkwardness cant quite be compensated by their unquestionable hotness ,) so as a result Im currenty involved wih an american guy. he is such a typical southern gentleman and so predictable (and boring) I am really enjoying that.

        Like

        1. A gay. Initially it was supposed to be a joke (we were flirting that he would meet me naked, and I thought he must be kidding but – voila – opened the door in all his glory :D). but he said it’s okay, he had no problem with being naked also in front of his flat-mates (also girls). they were cool about it.

          but today I thought – what is worse – naked men at home or those male joggers in public wearing those horrible, tight running tights/leggings that leave very little to imagination…. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

          1. oh yes German men do love those tights! when I first saw guys cycling in them in the park I was like are they kidding? far from thinking it was sexy I thought it was …. strange. but I got used to them eventually. women wear them all the time too, and in my home country Austria as well but I grew up in a city that was almost a village so Im not used to that….

            oh yeah and women wear tight clothing for jogging as well. that kinda gives the germans motivation to stay fit and skinny… unlike the Brits hehe=)

            Like

              1. well I have no idea. all of my German male friends, if they jog, they just do it in slacks except for a few very excentric old teachers whom I would never ask about their taste in clothes. maybe they jjust wear those tights because they take their fitness very seriously. besides its also a matter of traditions – what is appropriate what is not. you wont find Americans wearing those tights or speedos on the beach but in europe its perfectly normal. same way the American idea of even adults dressing up on halloween (even at work) can be funny to some continetal europeans.

                Like

                1. dressing up would be perfectly normal in Koln. Not sure about Halloween tho but in Koln they have carnival season from November till, hmm, January and February. and they take it very seriously.

                  Like

          1. in that case you should be a big fan of latvian women and you obviously are not for some reason) so apparently looks arent the most important thing

            p.s. not judging or hating on anyone

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I was talking about men 😉
              And I didn’t dislike Latvian women because they were good-looking; I disliked them because they were catty, up themselves and insane. (Not all of them, of course) 😉

              Like

              1. haha double standarts for men and women? but handsome men can be a pain in the butt too…. kissing my former german boyfriend felt like kissing a lump of wood. I guess there are skills men need to have that are more important than looks… but maybe you will be more lucky in that regard!

                Liked by 1 person

  17. That is too funny and a bit scary – especially the part about the gang markings. Continental Europeans have a much looser standard when it comes to public sexuality. in B-school we studtied Tv advertizing in Europe – it iseye-brow raising to North Americans. If you send me your e-mail address to paulccurran@hotmail.com, I’ll send you my favorite tv ad for a laptop camera. It is hilarious.

    Fun post Berlinda. Thanks

    Liked by 2 people

    1. the finest example of Continental European commercial must have been a Latvian commercial for a product called Nakts Jogurts (literally – Night Yoghurt) (it’s a pitty nobody has published it on youtube – would become an instant hit but – even if anybody did publish it might have been deleted). the commercial of Nakts jogurts featured a man and a woman in nightdress standing on her knees in front of a man looking all excited and ecstatic as dropplets of white substance start falling on her lips… then camera moves up and it turns out that the man standing in front of her is pouring the amazing new product Night Yoghurt in her mouth… No kidding! And they showed the commercial on national TV. Only in Latvia! 😀

      Like

      1. ok a friend of mine sent me links to various bizarre soviet commercials from the 80s this must be latvian:

        Ha! thats…. funny… what do you think? have commercials in your neck of the woods always been like this?

        Like

  18. What you need to do is relocate Chatty Kathy to the ground floor where she can take everyone’s parcels instead of you because she wants to know what’s in them. We have one, though he’s more Onslow from Keeping Up Appearances than Kathy Bates, and it’s really practical. Just make sure you never order anything again, obviously.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. man she s so weird…. and you thaught Latvians were weird huh??? kinda reminds me of a crazy old lady I met when living in Russia… she was always afraid some intruders would steal her cats…

        Liked by 1 person

Let me know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s